Friday, November 07, 2008
As you sow...
Rat a tat tat! I woke up to the sound of the door knocker and peeked out of the bedroom window, the shiny red post van was parked in the drive, again. Parcels and packages have been flying in from all over the world; portuguese grammar books from specialist London bookshops, CDs from Portugal and DVDs from Brazil. 'It's for you' I told Lurch, but he had already bounded downstairs to answer the door and unwrap his latest order. The elementary evening course is getting out of hand. I am about to commit Lurchicide. 'How do you pronounce cidades dos homems?' he asked, studying a DVD with intensity. I told him. A small furrow wrinkled his earnest brow 'I don't think Felipa said it like that', he then gave me his version, delivered in a forceful, swishing nasal twang. 'Has Felipa asked you if you come from Minsk, Belarus? And don't ask me again if you think you know best already. I told you I haven't studied portuguese for 20 years...' 'Ok, ok, I was only checking' Lurch sighed.
I am interested but Lurch is incapable of half measures. To humour him I asked him about the other people on the course. 'It's an odd mix' he said 'half of them are single women about your age and oddly enough the others are fifty something men who are married to Brazilian women. Felipa keeps asking them why their wives aren't teaching them at home, I can't understand it, they just look at the floor and don't answer her'.
I can and I was off on one of my favourite rants: Modern Day Slavery. I see these Youth Stealers in Sainsburys, miserable, grey haired paunchy men, being followed by tiny beautiful Thai, Russian or Brazilian wives, staring dispiritedly at the shelves through the bars of their supermarket trolleys, loaded with beer and cleaning fluids. I cannot believe that the practice of buying a wife on the internet is legal. I usually give the men a hard stare to show my disapproval. Lurch says it is none of my business and I am in no position to judge, both parties deem it a fair exchange etc etc but it just does not feel right to me. So, from Ipanema to Ilkley Moor. I explained to Lurch that the reason the Brazilian brides did not talk to their husbands was because they already had to do unmentionable things with them and a conversation with the Youth Stealers may very well push them right over the edge.
However, I don't want to risk alienating my two male readers so I'll desist with the rant. We start the day with a quick recap of the night before's pronunciation exercise. Danny Boy and The Terminator stare at Lurch over breakfast, incomprehension and bewilderment etched on their sleep-rumpled faces. The volume and nasal twang seem deafening at this time of day. We go to work and then when we arrive home the DVD goes on - 'Cidades dos homems' as I mispronounced earlier - a gritty soap opera about teenagers set in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, made ever more difficult to understand because Lurch repeats everything like an exotic parrot in need of a hearing aid. Then to bed where he rustles the papers of his homework, once again asking me how to pronounce things and subsequently correcting me. It can only be a matter of time before Felipa moves him up to the next level, probably at the request of the rest of the class.